After answering a few quick questions, householders will be able to see whether they are eligible for subsidised insulation or boiler installations as part of the Green Deal or Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
Both British Gas customers and those with other providers will be able to use the tool. In some cases the company will also offer to conduct an eligibility check over the phone or carry out a free survey at the property.
‘Quick and free way’ to gain useful information
Claire Williams, managing director at British Gas New Energy, commented that the new tool is a “quick and free way to gain some really useful information about how to improve your home, cut energy use and help keep bills under control this winter and in the years to come.”
She acknowledged that £1 in every £4 being spent on heating bills is wasted due to poor insulation, and emphasised that British Gas is keen to help as many people as possible take advantage of the measures available under the Green Deal and ECO.
Homeowners can make the most of the Green Deal by taking out a loan from the government-funded initiative to cover the cost of installing measures. They can then pay back the loan using the resulting savings they make on their energy bills.
British Gas is no doubt hoping the tool will encourage more people to sign up to the Green Deal after recent research showed that only 132 have done so to date.
Greg Barker: Green Deal will pick up pace over time
The Green Deal was launched in England and Wales in January 2013, and while it has been slammed for failing to attract many homeowners, ministers have said it is a long-term scheme that will pick up pace over time.
Greg Barker, minister for energy and climate change, has said: “This ambitious long-term programme is still in its initial months, but over 58,000 Green Deal assessments shows genuine consumer interest and we expect continued steady growth as we go into the winter.”
In the first half of 2013, British Gas committed to investing £300 million in ECO, and also expects to invest some £1.4 billion by 2015. The company has insulated three million homes and installed 65,000 new boilers over the past five years.
Twelve million homes in the UK still have inadequate wall and loft insulation, which could cost homeowners hundreds of pounds in excess energy use.
By installing loft insulation, homeowners could save themselves up to £180 a year on their energy bills. Cavity wall insulation, on the other hand, could see them save up to £140, as well as saving 550kg of CO2 every year.
Furthermore, those on benefits including job seekers allowance, state pension credit or working/child tax credit (with an income of £15,860 or less) could be entitled to a new boiler under the ECO scheme.